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The greatest centre-backs in Premier League history
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Mitchell Fretton
Virgil van Dijk scored the winner against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final
Virgil van Dijk scored the winner against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final

After scoring the winning goal and lifting the Carabao Cup on Sunday, Virgil van Dijk has cemented his status as one of the Premier League's greatest-ever defenders.

The Dutchman has played a huge part in helping Jurgen Klopp win everything on offer during his time on Merseyside.

Read on as we identify the most formidable centre-backs to grace the English top flight.

5. Tony Adams

Nicknamed Mr Arsenal for his efforts in North London, Tony Adams remains the only player to captain a team to league titles in three different decades.

The old-school defender was the glue holding things together at the back for Arsene Wenger in the late 1990s and early 2000s — and his love for the game shone through in his performances.

England have not produced many better traditional centre-backs than Adams, who will always be remembered for a thumping half-volley against Everton in May 1998 that helped secure the Premier League title.

4. Vincent Kompany

Vincent Kompany is a Premier League legend
Vincent Kompany is a Premier League legend

Vincent Kompany is arguably Manchester City's biggest legend and the one to lead them into their new era.

His tenure at the Etihad saw him win 12 major honours and it is no surprise that the club decided to immortalise his success with a statue outside of the stadium.

Injuries hampered what could have been an even more glorious career but Kompany is still undoubtedly one of the greats of the modern era.

3. Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool's return to the top coincided with Van Dijk's arrival on Merseyside in January 2018 and he may end his career higher than No3 on our list.

The Dutch powerhouse has picked up Player of the Match awards in three major finals for the Reds — including the Champions League — and was unlucky not to win the Ballon d'Or in 2019.

Since delivering a first league title in 30 years, Van Dijk has been getting the recognition he deserves and will be hungry to win more silverware before the 2023-24 season is over.

2. Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand had a glittering career and although his major honours were won at Manchester United, he was just as good during his time at Leeds and West Ham.

Like Van Dijk, Ferdinand was ideally suited as a modern centre-back and had the perfect blend of power, pace and technique, allowing him to keep his place under Alex Ferguson for over a decade.

His partnership with Nemanja Vidic was crucial to United's success in the 21st century and the Englishman eventually walked away from football with a mammoth six Premier League titles to his name — only five players have more.

1. John Terry

John Terry is a five-time Premier League winner
John Terry is a five-time Premier League winner

With a winning record of over 60% in the top flight, it is no surprise to see the legendary John Terry top our list as the Premier League's greatest centre-back.

The Chelsea hero spent 19 years in West London and won 15 major honours, including five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League.

His status as an icon is backed up by the fact that he has the most clean sheets of any single defender in Premier League history and is also the highest-scoring defender in the competition.


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